Warning: This post contains spoilers from the Christopher Nolan-directed movie Inception.
This was a really weird weekend for me. The kind where you hold a magnifying glass over your emotions and motives. My husband, RT, was traveling for work all last week. Again. By the time he got home on Friday I was on my last nerve and completely starved for mature social interaction. During a small tear-fest I realized that my only face-to-face adult conversation all week had been “Hello...Goodbye!” to Monkey’s camp teacher each day + a 10-minute visit with my friend that ended when Monkey pushed her daughter down and yelled at her. Gosh, gotta go!
Saturday was better after sleeping in, and then Score! we got a babysitter. RT and I went out for dinner and had real, uninterrupted conversation. I also got 2 beers for the price of one when a crack was found in my first glass. Score again!
Then we went and saw Inception, the new Leo DiCapprio film directed by Christopher Nolan (of The Dark Knight fame). Inception was exciting. And thought-provoking. And tense. We didn’t have a hard time following the plot or the strange time sequences layered in the movie, but I was tense throughout due to serious concentration and genuine excitement for what was happening.
DiCapprio plays Cobb, who leads a team of dream extractors. They place themselves inside someone’s dream and steal valuable information. But then they’re hired to plant an idea in someone’s dream/mind, rather than take something away. Through the ordeal, the lines of reality are blurred and deep psychological questions come into play. Cobb says that he can prove he’s in baseline reality when he spins a heavy metal top and it falls, whereas in the dream state the top continues to spin.
Shooting, dreaming, shooting, falling...I won’t tell you what the details are, but the last shot is of the top spinning. Cobb walks away. The top continues to spin. Then black.
We spent the drive home contemplating: Did the top fall? In what reality do we leave Cobb? In what reality are we, the viewer, living?
Then something strange happened. My cynical husband decided that it did fall (meaning, true reality) and I, usually the positive one, decided that it didn’t (meaning, Cobb is still dreaming and living in a false limbo place). Somewhere in all this, we’re probably meant to believe that it doesn’t matter; that he’s living in his perceived reality and it baseline reality is now insignificant to his outcome.
We can't stop thinking about this.
And then, Part 3.
We wake up at 6:30 Sunday morning to our screaming Kicking Bird baby. We can’t find any binkies in the entire house and poor Kicking Bird will not be pacified without a binky. I search everywhere, and then RT is searching again where I have already searched. I am holding Kicking Bird, who is now quiet but will scream if I even suggest putting him down.
Me: How about the car? I think there’s a binky in there.
RT: Yeah, but I’m looking in here first.
Me: We’ve looked in here.
5 minutes later, while RT looks under the couch again and I’m still holding KB.
Me: Do you want me to go out to the car?
RT shoots me a terrible look, tells me to stop ordering him around, goes out to the car and finds a binky.
The comment about ordering him around tips me off that something bigger than binkies is going on. We argue.
Later, I wind up thinking of this stupid book that I am reading with my church group. It’s called Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Much of what she says is outdated, small-minded and sets the women’s rights movement back about 100 years. But I’m persevering in reading the book with my group, and actually am learning from this little nugget that DeMoss presents as a Lie That Women Believe:
“If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative or nothing will get done.” She later says, "I can't help but wonder to what extent...women have demotivated...the men around us by our quickness to take the reins...To make matters worse, when they do take action, the women they look to for encouragement and affirmation correct them or tell them how they could have done better" (pp. 153-4).
I’m not saying my husband is passive, but I do take the initiative in nearly all actions for our household. What is the true reality here? Did I become overbearing and bossy, and therefore my husband sat back and let me run the house...or did it start the other way?
Like the movie we saw, this question can’t be answered. In my own reality, I only know that I can only change myself. So while my first instinct was to get up in RT’s face and say, “Nuh-uh! I'm not bossy.” (which I did while thinking And you better agree with me, mister!), I later was able to calmly communicate some of these thoughts of home leadership so we can extract what our roles are Vs. what we want our roles to be. Now I’m going to sit back, let everything sink in with us both and let the future--and our actions and reactions in it--unfold.
We spin the top every day. Perhaps, like Cobb walking away, our reaction to it is more important than what the top itself does.
What is your reality today?